Like bad beer, cracker jacks, and drunken fans getting hammered in the parking lot, smack-talking and sports-betting are staples of American sports. And that’s why Bema Studios created Smackdaddy, a free iPhone app [iTunes link] that allows you to both bet on games (currently just NFL, NHL and NBA) and tell your friends they smell. I got a chance to play with Smackdaddy this Sunday and loved it – it is easy to use, intuitive, and addictive. Of course, you pretty much have to be a sports fan to like it, so I’ll assume you know something about sports (as you should, lest you burn in hell) going forward.
You can’t bet real money, and Bema Studios assures me that will always be the case (too bad). But you do bet “Smackers” – a fake in-game currency. You start with 10,000 and all of the best include the spread. That is one of Smackdaddy’s downfalls, which is that it is fairly limited at this point in terms of feature sets. Aside from only having one style of betting, it also only has 3 sports (that I can tell). Both of those will be improved upon in future releases, of course.
Aside from being a fake Vegas-in-your-pocket, Smackdaddy also has a wall-posting or micro-messaging feature that allows you to “Smack talk” your Facebook friends. This is a great use of Facebook Connect, because you can immediately see all your friends that are also using Smackdaddy with just your Facebook ID and password. The downside (at least for Bema Studios) is you can’t easily invite your friends into the app, which would be nice since I have tons of friends I know who would love this. The other knock on the smack talking feature is that it is not in real-time but rather asynchronous, and it is limited to 140 characters. I understand the penchant to be just like Twitter, but I don’t think its necessary in this context. If I’m just talking with my friends, longer messages seem like no problem. Plus, its hard to make the Niners look good in just 140 characters.
Smackdaddy joins a long list of sports-related iPhone apps. However, it is the first one I’ve seen that provides a viable social/viral component. I would love to see a large community of “Smackdaddies” playing next time I pop into the app – and will definitely keep this app on my iPhone. Of course, it could get lame fast: if you run out of Smackers (a real possibility for me; I went 1-4 this weekend), you have to pay for them via in-app purchase. Or you can win 1,000 via the “daily raffle.”